Jean-Michel Othoniel


painting on canvas, ink on white gold leaf
55 1/8 x 41 1/4 x 2 1/8 inches
edition 1 of 2 + 1 AP

Best known for his hand-blown glass spheres displayed like monumental necklaces, French sculptor Jean-Michel Othoniel gravitates to luxurious materials that inspire longing in the viewer. For this work, Othoniel’s composition comes from a suspended sculpture Peony, the Knot of Shame he created for the Gardner Museum, Boston. The curls of black beads spiral atop the white gold leaf, and the spray of ink across the surface points to Othoniel’s fascination with the interaction between beauty and chance imperfections. He began his career in the late 1980s during the HIV/AIDs epidemic, and the missing body became a theme of his work, as he states, “A necklace is like the shadow of a missing person.” Othoniel’s work is in public and private collection across the world, including his immense golden blown glass sculpture, Les Belles Danses, commissioned for the Palace of Versailles’ Water Theater in 2015.